Friday, October 26, 2007

$8 to climb?

I recently moved back to my hometown crag from a near three year “sabbatical.” During that time I was lucky enough to climb on some of the best rock from the Gunks in New York to Bishop in California. For the last year and a half of that time I have been blessed with SoCal weather and access to tons of great rock and route diversity.

I definitely feel like the different styles I climbed and different rock types, ethics, partners, etc. all helped me improve. However, the move from Cali to Texas definitely didn’t help my endurance. I don’t think I have climbed more than a handful of times in the past three months. I don’t even want to talk about my diet.

Regardless, being back at my hometown crag, where I started climbing, has been great. Not only because I have great local climbing partners and tons of limestone to crawl, but because I get to come back to the rock that I have plateau-ed on so many times with a new skill set and a new, diversified background.

The only bad thing is I think the NY and CA prices followed me back. My once $3 entry fee at the local crag is now a whopping $8. But, it was still worth it.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


A few weeks back I went to Vegas to visit some friends, Jarrett and Crista, and climb some of the area crags. Our first stop was the Roost out at Mt. Charleston.

The area is named after the tourist attraction, Robber’s Roost, which often results in climbing becoming more of a spectator sport. The Roost is one of Vegas’ local summer crags with climbers visiting weekly. The drive is comparatively short as is the approach and many of the routes even have fixed draws to speed up the process, at least when hikers or other climbers haven’t snagged them.

I found a great route, Highway Man, which I thought I might try to flash. This did not happen. I actually didn’t even send it. Best I could guess, I rested too much. The route was long. The crux was at the top. Actually, the top 20 feet out of about 80.

My theory at the time was that I would climb up right below the crux and rest on these two decent crimps. I would shake out for a minute or two, then head half way through the crux before trying to rest again on crimps about half as good for another minute or so trying to get my heart rate and pump down. I hadn’t been climbing much lately and felt my endurance would crumble in the long crux.

This turned out to be my biggest mistake on this route. Although my pump went down slightly and my heart rate leveled out, I still had to finish out about 10 feet of strenuous crimpy climbing. Resting on crimps was not the answer. If the remainder of the route had been steep jugs, resting would have been a good idea, but it wasn’t.

The best thing for me to have done would have been to just bite down and go for it from the bottom up. At the least I should have left that last rest out. I almost always try to get a good shake out before a crux, but that apparently isn’t always the answer. You have to find a balance of resting for endurance yet not resting too much and ruining your power, especially on crimps. Although I didn’t send the route, I definitely walked away with some knowledge.